Church of God parents recant earlier statements
By JONATHAN SHER, Free Press Reporter
ST. THOMAS -- A trial that will shape the future of a family in
Aylmer's Church of God took a surprising turn yesterday when the
parents recanted statements described as "very significant" by
Judge Eleanor Schnall, who has imposed a broad publication ban,
ordered the media not to report the recanted statements.
But Schnall didn't forbid publication of the debate which pitted
the parents' lawyers against lawyers for the children and Family
and Children's Services.
"The father can't now come to court and say, 'I changed my mind,'
" said agency lawyer Alfred Mamo. "I'm afraid there is some
engineering going on to dilute evidence. That is a very serious
The father swore to the truth of statements in an affidavit July
2 * -- weeks after his seven children were seized from his home.
In November, the parents' lawyers affirmed the truthfulness of
the statements in a court pleading. Earlier this year, the father
again swore to their veracity.
But since the parents hadn't signed the pleading, Schnall ordered
them to review, sign and return it yesterday. Instead, the
parents' lawyers said their clients did not stand behind several
The father's lawyer, Michael Menear, said the change left the
father in a vulnerable position, as did the father's explanation
-- that the statement was true in November but not now, even
though it referred exclusively to events that occurred before
"He's got some explaining to do . . . there's no doubt about it,"
The mother's lawyer, Valerie Wise, argued the parents were merely
concerned about the wording of the statements.
But Schnall said the parents wanted to amend statements in ways
that would "profoundly change" their position.
Also opposing an amendment was the children's lawyer, Donald
Kilpatrick, who said the statements dealt with a "critical
Earlier this week, Mamo said the agency is seeking to protect the
children from excessive corporal punishment.
Menear and Wise have asked the court to toss out virtually all
evidence because of the way it was collected.
Kilpatrick has taken a middle ground, saying all evidence should
be considered, but that the seven children aren't in need of
Comment on article by case observer
Let me explain what they are talking about. It is like Valerie said. It is just the wording that the parents did not feel
comfortable with. The parents were asked at the beginning of this whole thing if they believed that their spanking had ever left
bruises or marks on their children. They had said that they believed that at times it could have. They wanted to be honest
Since then, the lawyers have asked them if they can remember when they checked their children and what they found. You
know how it works in court. They have to have facts. Well, the parents can't remember having checked their children and
they can't remember having seen marks on them. Therefore, they had to retract that statement.
But, of course, Jonathan Sher has to twist it so that it may sound like they are lying about something.